Julie Hesmondhalgh reveals how new Doctor Who boss Chris Chibnall compares to Russell T Davies

Julie Hesmondhalgh makes a guest appearance on this week’s Doctor Who – reuniting her with writer/showrunner Chris Chibnall, after the pair worked together on the third and final series of Broadchurch.

Hesmondhalgh has also worked with a former Doctor Who boss, Russell T Davies, on his 2015 Channel 4 series Cucumber – so when Digital Spy spoke to the BAFTA-nominated actress, we couldn’t resist asking how the two compared.

Above: Julia Hesmondhalgh in Doctor Who

“I think there are real similarities between Russell and Chris,” she said. “There’s an attention to detail, and a love of words and language, that I can really see in both their writing.

“They’ve got… not the same, but a similar sense of humour and a similar sensibility. Like if you look at [RTD’s mini-series] A Very English Scandal, it was a real caper, but there was a real point to it. There was a very deep message in it, about shame and about living an honest life, and how hiding things leads people to these ridiculous situations, and I think it’s the same with Chris’s work.

Broadchurch was known for being very intense and dark, obviously, but there’s a lot of humour in it – Olivia [Colman] is just a very, very funny person, and her character and the relationship between her and David [Tennant], was very light, with a lot of humour in it, so I think there’s definite correlations between the two of them [Chibnall and Davies].”

Above: Hesmondhalgh with David Tennant and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series three

Hesmondhalgh added that, besides their writing, both Chibnall and Davies have “got a very similar energy, very avuncular and very warm”, while also being “smart” and “not suffering fools gladly”.

“I do find them incredibly similar in lots of ways,” she said. “They know what they want, they absolutely know what they want. They’re not just writers, they’re showrunners, absolutely, definitely.”

Chibnall took charge of Doctor Who last year, replacing Davies’ own successor Steven Moffat.

Hesmondhalgh appears in episode seven of Chibnall’s debut series, ‘Kerblam!’, airing on Sunday at 6.30pm on BBC One.

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